With the very generous donation from The Holywood Trust I was able to be part of an amazing, emotional trip.
On 5th October 2018 I travelled to Nakuru, Kenya with 7 other volunteers, including my mum, with a charity called African Adventures Foundation. We were based in a primary school called The Walk Centre for 2 weeks.
There are 260 pupils in the school aged from 4 up to 12 years old. Most of the children and their families live on the town rubbish dump in homes built from things they find on the site. The parents gather plastic bottles and glass to sell for recycling. They don’t get paid very much money for the things they find. There is no mains water or toilets on the dump so they have to collect rain water to use for cooking and washing.
Because they don’t earn much money they also have to look for food amongst the rubbish. The families are very poor and most of the children have no shoes to wear. They walk through the rubbish in bare feet.
The children who come to school get a mug of porridge each morning and cabbage soup and ugali, cornflour dough, at lunchtime. The school even opens on Saturdays to feed the children lunch.
I helped the teachers to serve up the porridge to the children. I also helped the cook to prepare the cabbage ready for making the soup. The children are so happy to get their food at lunchtime. Many of them don’t get food at home because their parents are too poor to buy food. We bought fruit, bananas, watermelon and avocados, each day for the children from a woman who passed the school carrying the fruit in a bucket on her head. The children were always smiling and excited to receive the fruit as it was a special treat for them.
I helped to teach maths to the pupils in the highest class. I felt quite nervous doing this. I was made to feel very welcome. The children spend a lot of time in the playground, playing games and singing songs in English, so I was able to join in. The children really enjoyed it and they laugh and smile a lot.
A new kitchen has been built at the school so along with 2 of the other volunteers I helped with the painting of the inside walls, but we had a long time to wait for the paint to be delivered. Everything takes a very long time.
We visited an orphanage called St Jeromes where 35 children live. Most of their parents have died from AIDS. A lot of our friends had donated clothes for us to take on our trip to give to the children and families in Nakuru so we took some to St Jeromes for the children there. We took the children to a restaurant for tea. It was the first time they had ever been to a restaurant. They were very excited. We also took baby clothes to a hospital where the very poor mums go to give birth. The new mums were very happy to be given clothes for their new baby.
All the volunteers had fundraised for the trip which meant we could buy pencils, jotters, reading books and wall charts for the children and their classrooms. These are all things they are unable to buy because the families are so poor.
We asked a blacksmith to make swings, a climbing frame and a chute for the playground of a small classroom on the dumpsite. The day they were delivered the little children were so happy.
During the trip we decided that we should provide a food parcel for each family in the school, the headteacher sent a letter to each family inviting them to come to school on our last day to collect their parcel. It was hard work unloading 260 parcels from the pickup and stacking them then handing them out to all the parents. Everyone was so excited to receive their parcel. There were even people coming to the school gates who had no children in the school. But they were hungry and had heard about the food parcels.
There are some very rich people in Nakuru but most of the people are very poor. It made me sad to see the children with their tattered school uniforms and shoes that are falling to bits but the children never stop smiling and were so happy to get fruit and little toys. They play football with a ball made from plastic bags all rolled up and tied with string to keep it’s shape.
My time in Nakuru has made me realise how fortunate I am to have my parents and to live a very comfortable life knowing that we will have food on our table and a warm clean bed to sleep in. Even though the families and children have very little they are always smiling and they really appreciate everything we were able to help them with.
I hope by sharing my experience with others I will be able to continue to make a difference for them in the future.
Thank you for helping to make the trip possible.